ESPN.com's Mike Triplett reports that running back Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints missed his second straight practice on Thursday while trying to recover from a chest injury suffered in the team's 42-17 win against Tampa Bay Sunday. His status for Saturday night's wildcard showdown with the Eagles is currently up in the air.
The bad news is that Thomas has been the most productive back in a deep Saints backfield this season, running for 549 yards and tacking on 513 receiving yards on 77 receptions, a number that led all NFL running backs on the season. The good news is that the Saints are one of the few teams in the league that may be able to survive the loss of their leading rusher. Mark Ingram has been running well of late and averaged 4.9 yards per carry on the season. And, while Thomas had the most receptions out of the backfield, Darren Sproles wasn't far behind with 71 catches, amassing 604 yards, and is very capable of taking Thomas's snaps.
If you're in a playoff league that has yet to draft, it may be best to avoid Thomas at this point. He could have been in for a big PPR game against the Eagles #32 pass defense, but with the depth that the Saints have at the position, they may not risk using him in the wildcard round in hopes of having him fully healthy in the divisional round. Should they knock off the Eagles this week, having Thomas at or close to 100% would be better than having him come out of the game banged up. In FFToolbox.com's Playoff Draft World Championship, Thomas's ADP is currently 17th among running backs. Sproles is currently coming off draft boards as the #9 RB. Expect that gap to widen in the next 36 hours worth of drafts.
None of the Saints RB's were big touchdown guys this year, as QB Drew Brees led the team in rushing scores with three. But, as far as yards and receptions go, Saints running backs are about as productive as they come. I think the biggest boost goes to Sproles if Thomas can't go, as the two combined for 148 receptions and over 1100 yards on the year. Those numbers can't be ignored heading into the weekend's game with Philly.